The goal of this study was to investigate the feasibility for Smart Integrated Decentralised Energy (SIDE) systems to contribute to the resilience, flexibility and circularity of the Dutch national power system infrastructure. The energy sector plays a crucial role in tackling the challenge of transitioning into a circular, renewable energy-based economy. For this reason, the Dutch government has decided to quintuple renewable power generation by 2030.
Thanks to recent developments in renewable energy technologies such as batteries, heat pumps and solar panels, but also biodigesters in which organic waste and black water are collected providing an alternative heating source, it is now possible to produce, convert and store energy locally within so-called microgrids.
Russia is among the larger suppliers of raw materials to the EU. It is the biggest world supplier for palladium, platinum and nickel, and a prominent one for aluminium and copper. The country still holds large untapped reserves of rare-earth elements.
This paper provides an overview of EU import dependency on raw materials and Russia’s share among EU sources of key supplies for low-carbon technologies. It then looks at prospects for meeting future material demands through circularity for three technologies, namely lithium-ion batteries, wind turbines and fuel cell electric vehicles.
The analysis is based on two scenarios with different levels of ambition. They aim to give an indication of the scale of potential benefits that can be achieved through circular approaches.
Almost all countries in the UNECE region, covering the US, Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, have adopted national policies which are directly or indirectly related to the sustainable management of natural resources and the circular economy. On 6 April 2022, UNECE launched a new CIRCULAR STEP platform for policy dialogue on the circular economy.
This report, prepared by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, provides an analysis of the Dutch procurement system.
The Dutch Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) approach embraces six themes, two of which are explored in this study: climate-neutral procurement and circular procurement. Included in these two themes are aspects such as CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the reuse of raw materials at the highest possible level of value. SPP is a highly topical issue for a steadily growing number of organisations in the Netherlands: action plans are being written, requirements and criteria are being formulated, and tools are being produced. Together, these activities are creating growing demand for instruments that evidence the impact of SPP.
The Dutch SPP approach embraces six distinct themes, two of which are unpacked in detail for this study: climate-neutral procurement and circular procurement. Included in these two themes are aspects such as CO2and other greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the reuse of raw materials at the highest possible level of value.
SPP is a highly topical issue for a steadily growing number of organisations in the Netherlands: action plans are being written, requirements and criteria are being formulated, and tools are being produced. Together, these activities are creating a growing demand for instruments that evidence the impact of SPP.
Many actors see the EU’s circular economy (CE) as a promising narrative which steps outside dominant end-of-pipe solutions towards an encompassing vision for strategies across the supply chain. However, this study finds that the EU CE Action Plan maintains the status quo narrative instead of suggesting radical changes.
By focusing on stakeholder narratives, this analysis shows that the inertia is primarily due to CE proponents’ self-perception of being in a legitimacy crisis and their strategic arguments that have:
concealed social conflict and potential trade-offs
strengthened the agency of ‘status quo’ agents
excluded alternative voices questioning the proposed CE narrative.
The paper discusses how to develop new environmental narratives outside the status quo.
The circular economy (CE) is gaining momentum in cities. To ensure a sustainable CE, it is crucial to measure the environmental performance of CE strategies. However, environmental assessments overlook several strategies that are a key feature of urban CE practice. These include reuse and repair, sustainable built infrastructure and urban land use, green public procurement, smart information and access technology.
To provide insights into the environmental performance and potential of these strategies, industrial ecologists and municipalities should:
collaborate with urban systems experts
quantify the environmental impacts of entire urban systems
combine environmental assessments with social and economic feasibility ones.
Many political, business and civil society stakeholders are disappointed with the German Packaging Act. They feel it makes a comparatively small contribution to the circular economy. This study explains why they are disappointed:
Policy-making became entangled in disputes between proponents of a private and a public system for waste collection. Stakeholder fears of potential radical changes led to a stalemate
Fears allowed only incremental changes in the Packaging Act
The incremental changes could not resolve existing conflicts.
Based on its findings, the paper proposes possible courses of action. To create a shift to a circular economy, dialogue is needed using methods which explicitly address fears and overcome the current stalemate.